Archive for May, 2008

After Hours 5_12

Some gorgeous photos from National Geographic. Superb.

I have always had a secret desire to be a DJ, or at least a voice-over artist. Probably will never happen. But I do find voice-over humor to be funny – like this one, just discovered on YouTube

(hat tip: Presurfer blog)

And here’s on oldie-but-goodie:

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Merck the latest to make major cuts to its sales force – The unwinding of the Big Pharma sales armies continues apace, with Merck saying late today that it’s cutting its U.S. sales force by 1,200 positions, or about 14% from 8,500 reps at the start of 2007…more (and, in a strange twist, it appears that certain other layoffs were made public via Powerpoint!)

Device industry not immune either: Medtronic to make major cuts – Medtronic Inc on Tuesday said it would eliminate about 1,100 jobs this year, or almost 3 percent of its work force, in businesses whose growth has slowed, including its flagship heart rhythm device unit…more

Cephalon’s Fentora denied wider use – U.S. health officials should reject expanded use of Cephalon Inc’s Fentora pain drug beyond cancer patients because of the potential for abuse of the powerful narcotic, an advisory panel of outside experts said on Tuesday…more

King Pharma’s profitability falls as generic Altace competition ramps up – King Pharmaceuticals Inc posted a 24 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday as sales of its Altace blood-pressure drug plunged due to competition from generics…more

Abbott putting focus on ADHD market – Pay attention! Abbott Laboratories wants you to get excited about its new ADHD drug, but don’t worry, it won’t keep you up all night…more

New version of Novo Seven cleared – Denmark’s Novo Nordisk won U.S. approval to sell a new formulation of a genetically engineered protein therapy that helps the blood clot, regulators said on Friday…more

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For those pharma sales training folks gearing up for this year’s SPBT Conference, here is a quick video with a few tips on how to maximize your time. You may wish to forward this especially to first-time attendees.

Also, click here for a free tool to help your planning. This single-sheet .pdf file can help you make your time in the exhibit hall as valuable as possible.

Having worked on the “industry partner” side for over 10 years, I know that one of the biggest challenges in the conference exhibit hall is establishing clear communications and expectations between clients and vendors. And as a client, you can help yourself and any potential vendors by taking a few minutes, using this simple tool, to outline your upcoming training needs.

While it will only take you a few moments (in your office, on the plane, in the hotel…or during a less-than-engaging workshop!), this quick exercise will help you have very clear and focused communications on the exhibit floor.

And if you want to go over your upcoming needs in more detail, I can be reached via cell phone during the entire conference to set up a quick meeting – don’t hesitate to call for advice and recommendations (my contact info is on the form). If you need a quick overview of how Impactiviti can help you with your sales training needs, here’s the elevator speech.

P.S. – The conference is a great opportunity for networking. Here is why that’s important.

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June 4 Networking Event

Perhaps you read my recent post about networking?

Well, here’s a chance for those of you in the NJ/Philly area to engage in some!

John Mack (Pharma Marketing Network) is putting on a networking dinner in Princeton on the evening of June 4th.

More info right here.

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Perhaps you’ve never been a Boy Scout. Whether you have or not, the Scout motto – Be Prepared – is a good one to consider right now.

You’ve read about all the recent layoffs in our industry. You’ve heard about, or been part of, one or more of the many mergers in recent years. There is simply no more certainty in corporate America. Your future is in your hands, and you need to be prepared to take the reins at any time. In fact, even if you are gainfully employed, you need to take the reins right now. Let me suggest one simple word for each of us:


The time to build a network – a professional and social web of contacts who can help out when needs arise – is now. It is very likely that your next career move (horizontally) or advancement (vertically) will come about because of pre-existing relationships. While you can post a resume on-line that the world can (theoretically) see, so can a few billion other people. Doors are opened by people who listen to the recommendations and referrals of other people.

How do you build a wider professional network? Let me suggest a few straightforward steps:

1. Embrace networking as a high priority, and determine to do it. Yep, it starts with an act of the will. Maybe you’re not a native schmoozer (I’m not). Maybe you’re introvert-ish (I am). Maybe you think, “I can never build relationships like so-and-so.” Actually, you can. You might not have the same ease as some, but believe me, you can do it, and even become good at it.

2. Help others. That’s right, don’t start with your immediate or future needs. The best way to build a network marked by mutual help and sympathy is to help others. You may have been schooled in the “me-first” ladder-climbing corporate mentality. Drop that like a bad transmission. When you pro-actively offer to help people, you’ll be shocked at how popular you become.

3. Focus on one drop at a time. You can’t just turn the spigot and gush out a flood of networked contacts. But you can greet one new person a day. You can help out one co-worker today. You can reach out to someone in a similar professional role with a question. Networking should be seen as incremental and cumulative – it becomes a lifestyle, not a one-time act.

4. Attend meetings. Not the kind that clog your daily calendar (well, I guess you should attend those, too)! Go to national conferences, join local chapters of professional societies, expand your network beyond the next few cubicles. New opportunities may open up from unexpected directions.

5. Cultivate healthy vendor relationships. Vendors and consultants often know “what’s going on” outside your four walls, and may be able to facilitate new contacts for you. Weed out the sharks, and find those people who are genuine, service-oriented, and personable (this goes for recruiters as well). If they do good work for you, recommend them to others. That will definitely increase your bank account of good will!

6. Take advantage of the web-based networking platforms. I highly recommend LinkedIn (see graphic) for helping expand your network through electronic means. Facebook is usually for more personal/social contacts but can also be valuable. Create a very robust professional profile and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and new links with others. “Social media” can be helpful in many different ways.

7. Cultivate a limited circle of influential, wise, discreet professional colleagues. These are the trusted advisers you can turn to when you see storm clouds on the horizon – your early-warning safety net. These are your serious allies who will go the extra mile for you when the ground starts to shake.

8. Be “findable.” Who will rise to the top these days, when there is information overload? Those who can be quickly found (especially on-line), and who make a professional and interesting self-presentation before the need ever arises. If you have the drive and the ability to write, create a blog around your interests. If you can engage in electronic discussions, jump into Twitter. Put your talent and creativity and accomplishments out there. When people Google you, they should find you, AND be impressed.

For those in the pharma sales training community for whom this strikes a chord, I can see you at the upcoming SPBT conference, or you can shoot me an e-mail at any time. I’m happy to help you get started.

(Image credit)

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Merck has joined the ranks of Big Pharma companies dramatically cutting their sales forces, planning to let go about 1,200 reps (14% of the sales force) after problems with Vytorin, and non-approval of Cordaptive.

More on the story here.

This makes me think about doing a post on Networking: Preparing for the Future or something along those lines (OK, here it is!). Pro-actively building a supportive professional network of contacts seems to me not to be an optional move anymore. Things are too uncertain, even for good performers…

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In 2 weeks, we head down to the annual SPBT Conference (Orlando this year). And I always look forward to it. I like the workshops, the keynotes, the exhibit floor, and I enjoy the general buzz and energy level.

But as I think about this year’s event, there’s one thing I look forward to above all. And that’s hanging out with colleagues who have become valued friends, partners, clients, and collaborators over the years. I really value the relationships that have developed as a result of the SPBT.

After several days of intensive networking, I know I’ll be inwardly drained. My native introversion will demand respite from my learned extroversion. But that’s OK. Rubbing shoulders again at the conference will be blast. Can’t wait to see y’all there!

(and, an advance Thanks! to all the SPBT staff and volunteers who have been working hard to get everything ready for 2008!)

(Image source)

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